Dr Helen Parretti MA (Oxon), PhD, MRSC, CChem, MBBS, MSc, MRCGP

Dr Helen Parretti

Institute of Applied Health Research
NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer

Contact details

The Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Helen is an NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer and GP working in the child, maternity and lifestyle research group. Her work is focussed on weight management and obesity. She primarily works on clinical trials investigating new weight management interventions.  

She has also published a systematic review on the clinical effectiveness of very low energy diets. She led the development of a set of RCGP endorsed guidelines for primary care health professionals on the management of patients following bariatric surgery and went on to be a GP member for an expert group developing guidelines for the long term follow up of this group of patients. She is a personal tutor for MBChB students and is the RCGP representative to the RCP Joint Specialty Committee for Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus.


  • MSc in Clinical Primary and Community Care(distinction), University of Birmingham, 2015
  • Member Royal College of General Practitioners, 2015
  • MBBS, St George’s, University of London, 2006
  • PhD in solid state chemistry, University of Birmingham, 1998
  • Member of Royal Society of Chemistry and Chartered Chemist 1997
  • MA (Oxon) in chemistry, University of Oxford, 1995


Helen started at the University of Oxford studying chemistry, gaining a 2:1 in 1995. She continued working in chemistry, completing a PhD in solid state chemistry in 1998 at the University of Birmingham and then going to become a postdoctoral research fellow (University of Birmingham and then Imperial College, London). In 2002 she decided to change careers and retrain as a doctor and completed a graduate entry medical degree at St George’s, University of London in 2006. 

After foundation training she chose to train as a GP and returned to research when she completed her GP training as an Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) in 2013. During her ACF she was awarded a RCGP Midlands Faculty AiT excellence award and completed a MSc in Clinical and Primary Community Care with distinction. She was appointed as a NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer at the University of Birmingham on completing her GP training in 2015. She works two days a week as an honorary salaried GP in a local surgery and spends the rest of the week conducting research into weight management within the child, maternity and lifestyle research group in the Institute of Applied Health Research.


Medicine and Surgery MBChB years 1 and 5.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Helen is currently co-supervisor for a PhD student working on postnatal weight management.
  • She was a co-supervisor for a MPH student research project in 2014.


Helen has recently led a clinical trial investigating drinking water before main meals as a weight loss intervention, funded by a RCGP Scientific Foundation Board Grant and a European Hydration Institute student grant. She has also led a systematic review on the clinical effectiveness of very low energy diets. 

She has been a member of multidisciplinary expert groups developing guidance for the management of patients following bariatric surgery. The guidance for the management of these patients, developed specifically for primary care was endorsed by the RCGP. Currently, she is co-principal investigator for a clinical trial investigating a postnatal weight management intervention and is principal investigator for a CLAHRC WM supported trial involving renal patients.

Helen is a member of the Child, Maternity and Lifestyle research group within Institute of Applied Health Research.

Other activities

  • Member of a NHS England Severe and Complex Obesity CRG subgroup developing guidance for the follow up of  patients undergoing bariatric surgery, 2015-2016.
  • Personal tutor for University of Birmingham MBChB students since September 2015.
  • SCOPE (specialist certification of obesity professional education) certified, 2015.
  • RCGP representative to the RCP Joint Specialty Committee for Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus since 2014.
  • GPs with an interest in nutrition group member since 2013.


Recent publications


Ferguson, J, Daley, A & Parretti, H 2019, 'Behavioural weight management interventions for postnatal women: a systematic review of systematic reviews of randomised controlled trials', Obesity Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12834

Parretti, H, Hughes, C & Jones, L 2018, ''The rollercoaster of follow-up care' after bariatric surgery: a rapid review and qualitative synthesis', Obesity Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12764

Parretti, H, Bartington, S, Badcock, T, Hughes, L, Duda, J & Jolly, K 2017, 'Impact of primary care exercise referral schemes on the health of patients with obesity', Pragmatic and Observational Research, vol. 8, pp. 189-201. https://doi.org/10.2147/POR.S118648

Parretti, H, Okosieme, O & Vanderpump, M 2016, 'Current Recommendations in the Management of Hypothyroidism', British Journal of General Practice .

O'Kane, M, Parretti, H, Hughes, C, Sharma, M, Woodcock, S, Puplampu, T, Blakemore, A, Clare, K, MacMillan, I, Joyce, J, Sethi, S & Barth, J 2016, 'Guidelines for the follow-up of patients undergoing bariatric surgery', Clinical Obesity, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 210-224. https://doi.org/10.1111/cob.12145

Parretti, H, Jebb, S, Johns, D, Lewis, A, Christian-Brown, A & Aveyard, P 2016, 'Clinical effectiveness of very low energy diets in the management of weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials', Obesity Reviews. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12366

Parretti, H, Aveyard, P, Blannin, A, Clifford, S, Coleman, S, Roalfe, A & Daley, A 2015, 'Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT', Obesity, vol. 23, no. 9, pp. 1785-1791. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.21167

Parretti, H, Hughes, C, O'Kane, M, Woodcock, S & Pryke, R 2015, 'Ten Top Tips for the management of patients post-bariatric surgery in primary care', British Journal of Obesity, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 68-73.

Robinson, E, Parretti, H & Aveyard, P 2014, 'Visual identification of obesity by healthcare professionals: an experimental study of trainee and qualified GPs', British Journal of General Practice , vol. 64, pp. e703-e708. https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp14X682285

Deb, A, Hiraoka, N, Itou, M, Sakurai, Y, Palmer, H & Greaves, C 2002, 'Magnetic Compton scattering study of colossal magnetoresistance materials Fe1-xCuxCr2S4', Physical Review B, vol. 66, no. 10, pp. 100407. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.66.100407

Wright, A, Palmer, H, Anderson, P & Greaves, C 2002, 'Structures & Magnetic Ordering in the BrownMillerite Phases, Sr₂MnGaO₅ and Ca₂MnALO₅', Journal of Materials Chemistry, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 978-982. https://doi.org/10.1039/b109865a

Marco, JF, Gancedo, JR, Gracia, M, Gautier, JL, Rios, EI, Palmer, H, Greaves, C & Berry, F 2001, 'Cation distribution and magnetic structure of the ferrimagnetic spinel NiCO₂O₄', Journal of Materials Chemistry, vol. 11, pp. 3087-3093. https://doi.org/10.1039/b103135j

Wright, A, Palmer, H, Anderson, P & Greaves, C 2001, 'Synthesis and structure of Sr₂MnGaO₅, a new layered manganese oxide', Journal of Materials Chemistry, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 1324-1326. https://doi.org/10.1039/b100358p

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